October 10, 2018
Today Is World Mental Health Day
Three days later, the Mexico City Gag Rule was reinstated. This meant that women and girls in the developing world would have less access to family planning – leading to an increase in unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions. It became clear that our mission, principles and values, were more important than ever before.
Due to conflict and prolonged drought conditions, an estimated 20 million people, including 1.4 million children, were at risk of starving in countries such as Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.
We quickly mobilized emergency response teams to treat malnutrition, prevent outbreaks of cholera and to support local health infrastructures in coping with the enormous and complex needs across the region.
We also launched multiple mobile units in Somalia and Kenya to reach isolated communities affected by food insecurity.
In July, we signed on to the Every Woman Every Child initiative. Over the next 3 years, the Doctors of the World network will run sexual and reproductive health projects that aim to help 1 million women in 13 countries to access family planning services and information. Our work will reach women in countries such as Haiti, Pakistan, and Madagascar
In September, roughly 650,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to Bangladesh after the country’s military began a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against their communities.
Thousands now reside in makeshift refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar with little to no access to basic services. An estimated 60% of the refugees are children and many are unable to speak because of the horrors they have witnessed. Our team is still on the ground in Cox’s Bazaar providing medical care to traumatized Rohingya refugees
But we know that there is a lot more work to be done. Disastrous civil wars still rage on in Syria and Yemen, where our teams fight to provide medical care to local populations under siege while coming under fire themselves.
The world is also still witnessing the highest levels of people displaced on record. From the millions of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, to the thousands making the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe the conditions that forced these people to flee their homes show no sign of abating.
Conflicts and instability will continue to cause displacement, food insecurity, and the breakdown of health infrastructures.
In September 2017, Congress allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire and, at the time of writing, it is yet to be renewed. Without the program, millions of the nation’s poorest children will lose access to affordable healthcare in 2018.
Americans must remain vocal and continue to put pressure on representatives in order to guarantee that CHIP continues. We are more than ready to continue the fight for equal access to healthcare.